Brant: Storming of the Trojan Citadel

VP1502_069_172v_the_storming_of_the_Trojan_citadel_Aen._2_437-482.jpg
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This image is a jumble of battle scenes. In the middle left, Greeks roll a ladder up to the wall of the Trojan fortress (442-3), while nearby Pyrrhus, closely followed by Automedon and Periphas, takes an axe to the doors of the citadel (479-82). Aeneas stands at the top of a tower in the top left of the image; from the tower, while the Trojans standing around him shoot darts, he pushes the top of a nearby tower down at the soldiers fighting below (458-468). (Katy Purington)

Woodcut illustration from the “Strasbourg Vergil,” edited by Sebastian Brant: Publii Virgilii Maronis Opera cum quinque vulgatis commentariis expolitissimisque figuris atque imaginibus nuper per Sebastianum Brant superadditis (Strasbourg: Johannis Grieninger, 1502), fol. 172v, executed by an anonymous engraver under the direction of Brant.

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Sebastian Brant (1458­­–1521) was a humanist scholar of many competencies. Trained in classics and law at the University of Basel, Brant later lectured in jurisprudence there and practiced law in his native city of Strasbourg. While his satirical poem Das Narrenschiff won him considerable standing as a writer, his role in the transmission of Virgil to the Renaissance was at least as important. In 1502 he and Strasbourg printer Johannes Grüninger produced a major edition of Virgil’s works, along with Donatus’ Life and the commentaries of Servius, Landino, and Calderini, with more than two hundred woodcut illustrations. (Annabel Patterson)

Bibliography: 

Werner Suerbaum, Handbuch der illustrierten Vergil-Ausgaben, 1502–1840 (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2008) VP 1502, no. 69.

Annabel Patterson, “Sebastian Brant: Illustration as Exegesis,” in Pastoral and Ideology: Virgil to Valéry (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), p. 92.

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1502
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University of Heidelberg
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